The fitness wrist band remains very popular, despite the growing attraction of smartwatches, which can perform many of the same functions, with added convenience and notifications. The reason fitness bands aren’t going anywhere is they’re often well-priced, lighter, more compact, and more focused as a product than even the most basic smartwatch.
If you’re looking for a wrist band to help motivated you get more exercise, track your calories, or even keep a log of your sleep patterns, then you’ll probably be surprised by the amount of choice out there. We’ve collected seven of our favorite fitness tracking wearables, to help make the buying process a little easier.
Our pick for Android users
Why you should buy this: You want a stellar fitness band with GPS, a display, storage for music, and some smartwatch features
Who’s it for: Any Android user who’s teetering on the edge between a fitness band and smartwatch
How much will it cost: $180
Why we picked the Samsung Gear Fit 2
Samsung’s Gear Fit 2 is the best fitness tracker we’ve used. Its subtle design, smartwatch-like features, and ability to stream music during your workouts make it stand out from the ever-increasing mob of cheap, crappy, ugly fitness trackers. The auto-workout tracking is awesome and it really works, so you can exercise naturally without having to press a button every time you go out for a run. It offers built-in GPS and 4GB of music storage, so you can leave your phone at home when you hit the gym.
The 1.5-inch curved AMOLED screen is absolutely stunning and you can view all your metrics on it in full color at any time. You can even view a map of your route, thanks to its built-in GPS. It’s customizable with fun watch faces and you can download a bunch of handy apps from the Gear app store, including Spotify, which allows you to stream music from the Gear Fit 2 during workouts. The Fit 2 recognizes and automatically tracks a number of activities and everything syncs with the S Health app, which gives you a super detailed view of your progress on your phone.
Although its main purpose is fitness tracking, the Gear Fit 2 can also perform many smartwatch functions, including notifications, the ability to reply to messages, and download apps. The extra smarts aren’t thrown in your face; they are subtle and helpful. This is the device for anyone who wants a fitness tracker, but is smartwatch-curious. The battery lasts about 3 days, though GPS will eat into that estimate.
For $180 it is a great deal. The Gear Fit 2 is significantly cheaper than any smartwatch you can buy, and it’s even cheaper than some Fitbits, despite having more features. If you’re looking for a smart fitness tracker with heart rate, GPS, and notifications, the Gear Fit 2 is for you. The only bad news? You have to have an Android phone; it doesn’t work with iOS.